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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Rocking chair from the Mayflower

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QUESTION: I am reaching out to you concerning a child sized rocking chair that has been in the possession of my family for many years.

I do have documentation that traces back my family tree to a passenger that came to America on the Mayflower.

As the story goes, my great grandmother and grandmother have claimed for years that this rocking chair came over on the mayflower.

I was recently visiting my father and that story came up again when i noticed the chair in the corner of his living room.

There are no markings on the chair and to be honest i am skeptical of its authenticity.

But i thought i would reach out to your group to get to the bottom of it.

I have attached some pictures.

Thanks for your time.

ANSWER: Jeff,

Thanks for your question.  The youth chair is called a "thumback" chair due to the flattened "thumbs" at the top of the chair.  It is probably a late 1800's chair given its simplistic design and rush seat, but I doubt it came over to America around 1620 or so.  For one, there wasn't enough room on the ships for furniture (food and water only) and any chairs from that period were made in the new colony after they arrived.  This design is a nineteenth century design as well and is too sophisticated a design to be that early.

While I can appreciate your family's dedication to the story, I think we can both agree that it is just that.  A very nice, late 1800's youth rocker...but that is all it is.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news for the family.

Dennis

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dennis-

One more quick question. does this chair have any significant value to a collector?

Also,I to thought the chair looked much to new to be that old, my Dad is 85 and is the last one to hold onto that story, don't know if ill tell him the bad news or not :-).

Thanks so much for your time.

Answer
No problem Jeff...Unfortunately, the chair has minimal value to a collector.  For anyone collecting or searching for a youth rocker from that period - late 1800's - it's a very nice example.  I doubt, however, anyone would be willing much more than $100 for it just because it is a simplistic piece from that era and folks tend to like the late Victorian pieces to be rather ornate.  But for the right collector, anything is possible.

I hope this was what you needed...sorry it couldn't have been better news.  I think I'd let Dad hang on to his story in any event...

Take care and thanks again for the questions.

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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Dennis Wolbach

Expertise

I endeavor to answer all questions relating to the "identification" of American Art Pottery from the period of roughly 1880 through 1920. I specialize in the area of arts & crafts period pottery but do not limit myself specifically to that time period.

Experience

I have 20+ years experience buying, selling and identifying American Art Pottery both on the web, to private clientele and in a brick and mortar shop in Massachusetts.

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Education.

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